Becoming an RN in New Hampshire

You can become a registered nurse in New Hampshire by completing an approved degree program and passing a licensing exam. Some of New Hampshire’s programs are at the associate’s level, others at the bachelor’s level. Each of these leads to the same licensing and scope of practice, though not necessarily to the same choice of positions. There are a number of positions that do require the higher degree (BSN).

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A professional RN program, whether at the ADN level or the BSN level, is significantly more advanced than a program for practical nurses. If you are in a program leading to licensure as a registered nurse, you may apply for licensure as a practical nurse — and possibly begin drawing a salary — before you are finished with your program. You will need to have completed at least 600 hours of nursing education, including nursing fundamentals, maternal child nursing, and medical-surgical nursing. You will also need to have at least registered for the NCLEX-PN exam.

After completing your program, you will take the NCLEX exam at the RN level. You may begin work under a temporary permit while awaiting exam results in New Hampshire. Your title during this time period will be GN (Graduate Nurse).

Education Pathways to Registered Nursing in New Hampshire

If you previously earned a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing, you have two additional options: the accelerate second degree BSN and the direct entry master’s in nursing degree. The second BSN can be surprisingly quick, particularly for a student with a strong science background who has already completed prerequisites in area like chemistry, statistics, and anatomy and physiology. There is one in-state accelerated BSN program, at the Manchester, NH campus of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The program is four semesters, but it is completed in 16 months on a rigorous year round schedule. There are other accelerated BSN programs in New England; they do vary somewhat in length and pacing.

There is also one in-state direct entry master’s program, at the University of New Hampshire. The program typically takes two years, but students are eligible to sit for RN board exams with nine units still to go. At program completion, they can also obtain certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader, which is an advanced generalist role.

Licensed practical nurses also have a shortened path to professional nursing, as can be expected given the overlap in roles. The educational path an LPN would take is called an LPN to RN program or LPN to BSN program.

Registered Nursing Career Outlook in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is in need of nurses. The state saw a steep decline in the number of nurses per 100,000 residents in the years 2004 to 2008 — a time when many states were seeing much needed increases. Job prospects have remained relatively good even during recession years, a 2010 survey by the AACN indicates. The survey focused on baccalaureate and direct entry master’s candidates in the years 2008 to 2010. New Hampshire graduates fared better than other New England graduates in the time immediately after program completion. 80% had job offers upon graduation — a figure that rose to 98% within six months.

The Application Process to New Hampshire’s Nursing Schools

New Hampshire’s schools do not have a common standard for admission. However, expect that at the community college level, the standard will be higher than for most other programs (which are in less demand). At Manchester Community College, students are considered for admission if they have references, C’s in high school level chemistry, biology, and algebra, and scores at the 50th percentile or better on each section of the NLN pre-admission exam at RN level. Meeting minimum standards, however, will not ensure admission. Your best bet is to go above them. If high school is behind you and you have no chance at the A or B in prerequisites, focus on other areas. Realize that the program has confidential reference forms, and that your professional or educational references will be ranking you in areas like teamwork, empathy, accountability, and problem solving skills.

In some instances, applying early will give you priority. This is the case at Concord Community College. ‘Early action’ programs do not require the level of commitment that ‘early decision’ does.

ADN Programs Approved by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing

White Mountains Community College
Berlin, NH
PH: 603-752-1113 ext. 3032
River Valley Community College
Claremont, NH
PH: 603-542-7744
Keene Academic Center
Keene, NH
Lakes Region Community College
Laconia, NH
PH: 603-524-3207
Manchester Community College
Manchester, NH
PH: 603-206-8072
Nashua Community College
Nashua, NH
PH: 603-882-6923 ext. 1612
Great Bay Community College
Portsmouth, NH
PH: 603-427-7678
NHTI – Concord’s Community College
Concord, NH
PH: 603-271-7168
River College
Nashua, NH
PH: 603-888-1311 ext. 8530
St. Joseph School of Nursing
Nashua, NH
PH: 603-594-2567

BSN Programs Approved by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing

Colby-Sawyer College
100 Main Street
New London, NH
PH: 603-526-2010
St. Anselm College
Manchester, NH
PH: 603-641-7080
University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences School of Nursing
Manchester, NH
PH: 603-314-0210

Direct Entry Master’s in Nursing Programs

University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH
PH: 603-862-2260